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Energy saver wins top award

A scheme that uses energy efficiency to boost the coffers of community sports clubs has taken top honours in the 2016 EECA Awards.

Project Litefoot Trust, the brainchild of marketing expert Hamish Reid and golfer Michael Campbell, helps community sports clubs become more efficient with energy, water and waste. As well as reducing their environmental footprint, clubs are saving money which is being used for kit, coaching and facilities.

The Community Award winner beat nine other category winners to scoop the Supreme Award, presented by the Energy and Resources Minister, Simon Bridges, at a ceremony in Auckland on May 18.

The project has sporting heroes including Michael Campbell, Conrad Smith, Brendon McCullum and the Evers-Swindell twins, compete against each other compete against each other to achieve the lowest environmental impact. An online league table shows their progress as environmental champions and this is used to promote energy, water and waste efficiency to community sports clubs through the Trust’s lead initiative, LiteClub.

Energy saving

The mobile LiteClub team visits local sports clubs to talk about their environmental impact, and during these visits they install LED light bulbs, pipe lagging and insulation on hot water cylinders, water-saving devices and recycling stations. The money saved on energy is then freed-up for sport.

Since 2011, Project Lifefoot Trust has achieved $3.9 million worth of energy savings, avoided nearly 4,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, diverted 2,453 tonnes of waste from landfill, and conserved 22.4 million litres of water. For every $1 invested in the trust, $2.53 is saved for sport.
As well as freeing up money for sport in New Zealand, the project has aroused international interest. The Kiwi efficiency model has been applied to a feasibility study in three Australian states, supported by the Australian Football League and Cricket Australia. In the UK, Olympian sailing champion, Ben Ainslie, is assisting with the roll-out of a club pilot programme is association with Sport England, the Rugby Football Union, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Global Action Plan.

“This is an impressive project that has got people sitting up and taking notice. Once again New Zealand plays host to an original idea that is able to contribute so much internationally. It is a highly innovative way of gaining attention on an important issue – in a relatively untapped sector,” EECA Awards Head Judge Ralph Sims said.

Good benchmark

EECA Chief Executive, Mike Underhill said that the Project is setting an efficiency benchmark and that other sectors and countries should sport similar aspirations.

“Project Litefoot has developed a template for energy efficiency at the community level. By enlisting the support of high-profile personalities, making physical changes to infrastructure, and engaging members, fans and the sporting community, this project is making environmental champions of ordinary New Zealanders. It is an exciting example of how to best engage and how to affect positive change in the community,” he said.

The EECA Awards honoured winners in ten categories for a range of projects across business, community and the public sector. Held every two years, the Awards celebrate organisations and individuals that demonstrate excellence in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Collectively, 2016 Awards entrants have saved or generated 1.1 petajoules (PJ) of energy, equivalent to the annual energy use of all households in New Plymouth, and have avoided 120,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, about one-fifth of the annual emissions of all households in New Zealand.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is the Crown agency that encourages, supports, and promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand.

EECA provides information to households through ‘Energywise’ (www.energywise.govt.nz) and to businesses through EECA Business (www.eecabusiness.govt.nz).

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